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By Rick Popely
December 1, 1999
Vehicle Overview This radically styled two-door sport utility vehicle arrived as a 1999 model sporting unusual design features and an attitude that says it is ready for a run up the nearest mountain. Isuzu no longer builds cars, so this vehicle is based on a truck chassis. VehiCROSS is assembled partly by hand and is available in limited numbers, with Isuzu dealers selling fewer than 200 per month in the United States.
Major powertrain components (engine, transmission, axles, etc.) on all Isuzu models are now covered for 10 years or 120,000 miles for the original owner, the longest warranty in the industry.
Interior Front-seat occupants get Recaro sport buckets trimmed in red and black leather, and the two-place rear seat has a reclining feature and a 50/50 split folding seatback. Inside door trim is faux carbon fiber. The standard sound system is a 120-watt, six-speaker setup with a cassette player.
Exterior The most striking aspect of the appearance is the black polypropylene cladding that wraps around the VehiCROSS, accenting the large wheel wells, which need to be large to accommodate the standard 16-inch wheels in tire. The size jumps up to 18 inches in diameter later this year. The unpainted polypropylene panels are chip and scratch resistant for serious off-road use.
Aerodynamic halogen headlights, a flat black insert in the hood, an aircraft-style locking fuel-filler door and a roof-mounted rear spoiler add to the vehicle's distinctive stance. The spare tire is mounted within the cargo door, creating a prominent bulge in the outside.
Under the Hood The powertrain consists of a 215-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, four-speed automatic transmission and Isuzu's Torque-on-Demand 4WD system, which is governed by its own computer and automatically split power between front and rear wheels to provide the most traction.